On Being ‘Ballsy’: James Deakin

I’ve been busy recently editing film from the second interview I had with James Deakin, Founder of North Wales Recovery Communities (NWRC) in Bangor. I’m so impressed by what is happening at NWRC.

Whilst editing, I remembered I wanted to post a blog on James’s film where he discusses being ‘ballsy’. In my humble opinion, you need a chunk of ‘ballsiness’ to get some things done in the recovery field and climb over the barriers that the system sometimes puts in the way.

James is often accused of being an ‘ego-merchant’. He think there’s a fine line between ‘being ego’ and ‘being ballsy’. He believe he is the latter. He says to his community members, ‘I’m not afraid to fail. I’m afraid of not trying.’ David points out that we need people who are ‘ballsy’ in the recovery field.

James believes that, in general, addicts are driven by fear… ‘whether it is the fear of withdrawal, the fear of having to deal with the consequences of our addiction, the fear of [dealing] with the psychological trauma that underpins it in the first place. I think we’re just fearful people in general.’

North Wales Recovery Communities (NWRC) is all about leading by example. James emphasises to community members that you have to push yourself for growth to occur. And growth occurs outside your comfort zone. ‘You’ve got to stretch yourself on a regular basis. You’ve got to take yourself to places where you feel uncomfortable…’

James points out that many ‘lived experience’ recovery communities are driven by the influence of one person. The principles that underlie that community are the principles that underlie that person’s own recovery. In a sense, the person sets an ethos. Interviewer David Clark says that when he views these communities from the outside, he sees one person starting the recovery community and the infectious nature of recovery then driving things forward. Community members respond to what that person emanates… including their ‘ballsy’ attitude. 19 June 2023.

Bio: James Deakin has been in recovery for 15 years and is now sharing his experiences of active addiction and offending to support other people to bring a positive change to their own lives. He believes strongly in the concepts of mutual aid and shared experience, and these are underlying foundations of North Wales Recovery Communities (NWRC) which he developed in 2014. NWRC delivers a programme of meetings and recovery activity from Penrhyn House and members of NWRC contribute significantly to the local community in various ways. Their community cafe, Bwyd Da Bangor, provides the best food on High Street, Bangor.